Yemen is in the Near East, in the south of the Arabian Peninsula. It is surrounded by the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Eden and the Red Sea and is between Saudi Arabia and Oman, at latitudes 120° 17° N and longitudes 43° 56° E. Its capital is Sana’a.
The country comprises four main geographical areas:
- The Tihamah Region is a very arid, flat coastal plateau. Though arid, there are many lagoons making it marshy, ideal conditions for malarial mosquitoes. There are also large areas of moving sand dunes known as “barhan”.
- The Rub al-Jali desert. Tihamah ends suddenly at the steep western mountains. This region receives the highest level of rainfall in Arabia, which rises steeply from 100 mm per year to 760 mm at the city of Ta’izz, and may even reach 1,000 mm. Terraces have been built to meet the demand for food.
- The central mountain region is a large plateau at about 2,000 m. It is drier than the western mountains, but still receives sufficient rainfall in wet years to be cultivated. Daytime temperature variation is one of the highest in the world, with the normal range going from 30ºC in daytime to 0ºC at night. Sana’a is in this region, at 2,350 m.
- The Rub al-Jali Desert area in the east is mostly below 1,000 m and hardly receives any rain.